Proving once again that we are a people forever linked to a past that we both try to escape and embrace simultaneously in a cruel struggle with time, No Doubt released a brand new single after an 11 year break today.
While the band may have gotten back together for a tour in 2009, they haven’t released a new original song since 2001′s “Rock Steady.” Their last big hit was a cover; a 2003 singles compilation included their last big hit “It’s My Life,” a cover of a Talk Talk song.
“Settle Down” bounces along a dancehall beat over the course of five minutes – an eternity for a pop song – yet manages to remain upbeat, as if, at times, self-aware of its own shelf life. Let’s not forget that No Doubt is 20 years old this year with their first major breakthrough coming in 1995. Their first wave of fans, the ones who bought their CDs (remember CDs?) in high school, are all either in or rapidly approaching their 30s now. The aptly titled “Settle Down” has an overarching sense of the band admitting that perhaps it is time to slow down a bit and settle down; a perfect bookend to the days 16(!!!) years ago when “Spiderwebs” and “Just A Girl” ruled their airwaves. Is “Settle Down” the best thing they’ve ever done? Far from it. It may be, however, their most honest. Stefani’s keening vocals have been missed from the radio landscape (am I the only one who thought that her solo single “What You Waiting For?” was one of the best pop songs of the last decade?) – and it’s refreshing, if not just a tad worrisome – to hear No Doubt performing upbeat fourth-wave reggae/dancehall again.
No Doubt will premiere the song July 26th on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.”